Gary Smith, John Williams and Robert Johnson are some of those names. Kroft talked to 12 people with the name Robert Johnson, all of whom are detained almost every time they fly. The detentions can include strip searches and long delays in their travels.
"Well, Robert Johnson will never get off the list," says Donna Bucella, who oversaw the creation of the list and has headed up the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center since 2003. She regrets the trouble they experience, but chalks it up to the price of security in the post-9/11 world. "They're going to be inconvenienced every time ... because they do have the name of a person who's a known or suspected terrorist," says Bucella.
A solution would not be that hard. For example, issue a free fancy, finger print verified, photo containing, central database confirmable "I'm not a terrrorist" card and a few hundred bucks for the initial inconvenience to anyone who has the misfortune to share a name with a terrorist on the watch list. Maybe the whole system would cost $1,000,000 to set up, and $1,000 per impacted person. Maybe there are 1,000 impacted people in the system right now. For $2,000,000, you have a far less objectionable system.